Expansion of Secondary Education in Tanzania

Policy Practices, Trends and Implications to Quality Education

Seminar Paper, 2012
27 Pages, Grade: none



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This paper reviews the trends of secondary education expansion in Tanzania. It is argued that various policy stances and approaches to education planning have served as blue prints for expanding this level of education in the country over time. It is further pointed out that; the whole process of expansion goes together with reasonable quality. Each policy stance and approach to planning on expansion of secondary education is observed with its impacts on educational performance in relation to quality. The paper also addresses the issues related to the couple of limitations and challenges of the quality education that calls for more innovations, more strategic planning as well as a strong political will of seeing to it that expansion is both creating more access and effectively empowers those who happen to access this education. The paper suggests the need for an increased number of studies that should shape policies aimed at making education inclusive, responding to the diverse needs and circumstances of learners and giving appropriate weight to the abilities, skills, and knowledge they bring to the teaching learning process. It further, recommends the effective and strategic engagement of various actors of education in decision making whenever new reforms and policies come in education system. Finally, the paper reminds politicians to take into account what the general public may wish to incorporate in the policy and plans so as to attain the intended education goals.


Education is one of the largest contributors of the national economic performance and human advancement and, therefore, requires greater commitment than any other development activity (Fisman and Roberta, 2002). It also needs skilled and highly trained and dedicated staff, quality curriculum, infrastructure and adequate teaching and learning materials. To provide all those resources, government, communities, parents and other educational stakeholders must have commitment to the educational sector (Basaya, 2004). Education development in Tanzania has been guided by both macro-economic and sectoral policies. The education training policy was the starting point for the development of education in contemporary Tanzania. Education training policy was boosted by two macro-economic policies which were formulated later in the late 1990’s namely the Poverty Reduction Paper and Tanzania Development vision 2025. Apart from such policy, the Government has forged ahead by giving education top priority in resource allocation. The education sector is currently receiving more than 25% of the Government current budget as opposed to less than 20% in the 1990’s (Malale, 2006). The challenge the education sector is facing is to ensure effective utilization and accountability of increasing funding for provision of quality education.

It is the Universal truth that the most fundamental objective of education is the development of human dignity and self realization within community. Blaug (1968) and Becker (1993) argued that education is one form of human capital necessary for transforming nature into a form most suitable for human utility. Education is seen as essential for the full accomplishment of individuals as human beings, their survival and lifelong development (Kratli, 2001). There are enough evidences to show that individuals and society consider schooling and education in general, as investment. Above all, education contributes to increased productivity (Galabawa, 2005).

It is therefore, on the above grounds that make nations all over the globe strive to deliver quality education to their people at all possible means. Tanzania has been striving to expand secondary education since independence in 1961 to date, guided with different policy stances over time. However, the expansion strategies have been coupled with various educational problems and challenges for planning. This is also supported by (Mosha, 2006) as he observes, that politicians and education bureaucratic alike are placing a lot of emphasis on quantitative expansion. Although, it is almost a trend in various nations of the world, that whenever there is quantitative expansion of education level, the quality of education in that level is jeopardized, it is equally important to examine the problems that surround the policy and planning of such expansion leading to jeopardization of quality in favour of quantity.

Aims of the Paper

This paper intends to examine the expansion of secondary education in Tanzania since independence to date in a view to identify the problems associated with the expansion. The policies and approaches to education planning that guided the expansion over time are examined. The paper also intends to provide sound analysis on the challenges available for educational planners that have negative impact on secondary education expansion and consequently make recommendations through which the negative practices can be addressed. To achieve these objectives, the historical development of secondary education expansion over different periods of time since independence to date will be presented together with the policy planning approaches that influenced investment in education in Tanzania.

Quality Education

Expansion and quality are linked, but there appears to be little agreement about how this link operates and even how it can be strengthened. This is emphasized within World Bank documents for example, with one saying that, “There is little point expanding access to education unless there is reasonably quality” (World Bank, 2002). In Tanzania, this complex relationship between expansion and quality has become somewhat simplified as it has already greatly increased secondary school enrolment rates; this must surely make us question whether or not quality has been maintained in the process, and also whether the quality of education can be improved from the current position.

Writing on Quality education, Osaki (2009) asserts that quality education is one which the intentions of education are reasonable and up to date and in which the education system from policy formulation design and development of curricula and syllabuses as well as teaching, learning and assessment are working effectively. In the similar vein, Davidson (2004) argues that, quality of education refers to the overall running of education system and the schools themselves, alongside the experiences undergone by the various actors within the system and the school. In Tanzania for example, when discussing the issue of quality education, it necessary not to leave aside the issue of work load, the low level of salaries and denial of teachers rights. In this regard, this paper attempts to explore in detail the expansion of secondary expansion in relation to quality education.

Trends in Secondary Education Expansion and Some Approaches to Educational Planning

The Missionaries introduced secondary education in the 1933 for the first time in Tanzania (Masudi, 1996). Since then some more secondary schools were opened in different limited parts of the country by religious denominations. These few secondary schools aimed at helping the missionaries in spreading Christianity. On the other hand, the colonial government established few secondary schools for the production of few Africans who could work as clerks and occupy other junior posts in the colonial government machinery. In the 1950s, after more than a half-century of colonial rule, there were only 2,409 African students in standards IX to XII (Morrison, 1976). There was an introduction of Five Year Education Plan (1956-1961) that aimed at putting more emphasis of secondary education and improve quality of education (Mushi, 2009). This shows that few Tanzanians received secondary education during the colonial regime.

Soon after independence in 1961, it was observed that very few children were in secondary school and therefore, the government of Tanzania had to undertake an expansionary strategy in education so as to fill the vacant posts left by the colonialists, thus the Three-Year Development Plan (1961-1964) was formulated in which education was a component (Mushi, 2009). In this plan, therefore, secondary education received the highest priority, to meet the higher-level workforce requirements. This is also underscored by (Ishengoma, 1989:1) as he observes; ‘after achieving her political independence in 1961, Tanzania like other developing countries faced an acute shortage of skilled national manpower’. Secondary education was thought important for production of the needed manpower. Skorov (1966) puts “the government adopted the manpower approach for expanding secondary education since 1961”.

Looking critically at this government stance of using the manpower approach in planning education and so as a guide for expansion of secondary education, notable achievements can be identified; some of these include employability of secondary education graduates. In the past, secondary school leavers secured direct employment since, the education was planned according to the requirements of the labour market, and the curricula also offered relevant skills. Furthermore, the mix ratios were properly planned and so workers of different levels of education were accurately trained and absorbed in the labour market.

However, the approach did not register a notable quantitative expansion in terms of construction of new secondary schools due to limitation of resources and poor prioritization for maximum utilization of scarce resources available. Knowing that the colonial education was segregative in terms of religious grounds and social status of students such as the children of chiefs and those of normal citizens, the policy stance during the post independence phase (1961-1966) was thus featured mainly with decentralization and nationalization of education. This increased access to secondary education across the board, to children from indigenous and poor African backgrounds. To make possible the expansion of secondary access, the government adopted the self-reliance and expansion collective national thought” as a policy stance for provision of education. One of the notable changes in the development of secondary education in this phase was the nationalization of all secondary schools especially in 1969; “the nationalization policy” came after the promulgation of the Arusha declaration in February 1967. Through the Education Act of 1969, the Government nationalized all private and mission secondary schools (Mushi, 2009). This policy stance of nationalizing the private and mission schools has multiple consequences as far as expansion of secondary education is concerned. In the same period for instance there, was the emphasis that higher education should be offered only for satisfying the requirements for high level manpower needs of the country and therefore selecting few secondary graduates and thus underscored the need for the government to expand secondary education (ibid).


Excerpt out of 27 pages


Expansion of Secondary Education in Tanzania
Policy Practices, Trends and Implications to Quality Education
University of Dodoma
Foundations of Education
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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expansion, secondary, education, tanzania, policy, practices, trends, implications, quality
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Placidius Ndibalema (Author), 2012, Expansion of Secondary Education in Tanzania, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/191864


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